A sluggish drain can be a huge annoyance any time, but even more so when you are trying to entertain guests and are spending a lot of time working in your kitchen. Unfortunately, it is also the warning sign of a much larger problem that is either already there or is slowly building. Here are five tips to help you avoid clogging your drains.
Avoid pouring grease down your sink. –
Any time you cook something that leaves grease behind, especially if you have a garbage disposal, the first instinct is to just feed it to the disposal and assume that it can handle it. After all, you can put all kinds of things down there that it actually has to chew up and there is no problem, right? Wrong! The best way to avoid hardening your pipes from grease is to leave it in the pan or pour it into an empty can or container and let it harden. Then you can just throw it out in the trash. If you forget or spill the grease and it runs down the drain, immediately run very hot water in your sink for several minutes. The heat from the water prevents the grease from hardening and allows it to pass through your pipes with less chance of a clog.
Avoid pouring chemicals down your drains. –
Many chemicals will clog or even rot your pipes. There are many different types of drain cleaners out there, and although they unclog your pipes, they will actually erode your pipes over time. A regular practice of pouring boiling water down the drain, say once a week, will likely prevent clogs from growing to the point of that disgusting water backing up in your sink. Two good alternatives to chemicals are either baking soda or Alka Seltzer tablets. When these substances are combined with boiling water, the quick foaming action should break down your clogs and allow water to flow freely again.
Avoid pouring certain foods down the drain, even with a garbage disposal. –
Potato peelings, fruit peels and pastas are all very bad for sink drains. The peels are only partially chewed up by the disposal, so the leftover chunks gather in your pipes and cause a clogged mess that will back up into your sinks, toilets and tubs. Pasta and rice tend to swell after sitting in liquid for a while, so this expansion will block water from flowing freely through your pipes.
Clean the stoppers. –
Many people think that they are preventing drain clogs by using sink stoppers in all of their sinks. Unfortunately in the kitchen, pieces of food settle into the bottom of the stopper and in the bathrooms hair does the same thing. Without regularly cleaning these stoppers, you are only gathering the garbage into a bigger collection that when washed down the drain will cause the pipes to be blocked even quicker.
Use drain screens. –
There are a number of different sizes of screens made that fit snuggly into kitchen and bathroom sink drains as well as the drains in bathtubs and showers. Using these regularly and cleaning them diligently will likely help you to avoid ever having to deal with a clogged drain.
Employing any one or a combination of these practices during your cooking and cleaning rituals will greatly aid in your avoidance of having to deal with, or pay for, the results of a clogged drain. If you have ever had a major back-up of dirty sink, tub or toilet water in your household, you are well aware already that it is worth a little extra time and energy to avoid possibly expensive and likely disgusting results that follow clogging a drain anywhere in your household.